If you're suffering from back pain, you're not alone: up to 69% of Americans say that low back pain affects their daily lives. Back and spinal problems are shockingly common, especially as people age, but that doesn't make them any less potentially serious. If you have any of these four signs along with your back pain, it may be time to ask the doctors at your local clinic for medical help.
- Fever or flu-like symptoms: If your back pain is accompanied by a more serious fever, it could mean something is wrong. Fever, combined with back pain, could mean that there's an infection. Your doctors will usually be able to rule out infection as the cause, and if there is an infection they will be able to prescribe antibiotics.
- Numbness, tingling, or difficulty walking: If you're feeling any sort of numbness or tingling, or if one foot seems to drag slightly when you walk, it's possible that there's a nerve problem. While it might feel insignificant or like only a slight nuisance, these can be very serious signs of nerve damage that should be addressed as soon as possible.
- Night pain: If your pain only is present at night, the issue can still be severe. While it might be a simple issue of a sprain, it could also indicate something more serious. Even if the pain occurs for a short part of the day, it's good to check with your doctors to rule out more severe problems.
- Long-term pain: It can be easy to dismiss low-level long-term pain, but if back pain lasts for more than six weeks, talk to your doctor. Even if the issue is chronic and there is little treatment outside of physical therapy, asking a doctor about it can ensure you're not doing more damage to it by continuing to ignore it.
If you've had any of these four symptoms along with your back pain, talk to your local doctors to see what treatment plans are best for you and your situation. Checking with a doctor can not only prevent further damage to your back, but potentially help you have less pain in your day-to-day life.